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Strategic Training and Corporate Success, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1017

Essay

Question 1: How do Successful Companies Engage in Strategic Training and Development?

Saralee is a company with a reputation for its quality bakery products. Recently, however, the company has engaged in a bold, new initiative that it has branded “pure play.” The company finalized the sale of its North American bakery operations to rival company, Grupo Bimbo in 2010. Saralee then created two subsidiary businesses in January 2011 that now form the core of the company’s operations; North American Meat and International Coffee and Tea (Annual Report, 2010).

Salalee’s mission is to “simply delight you…everyday.” The company vision is “to simply be the first choice for consumers and customers around the world by bringing together innovative ideas, continuous improvement, and people who make things happen.” The company describes its corporate values as integrity, passion, inclusiveness, team building and imagination (saralee.com).

The complete makeover of Saralee has obvious implications for strategic training and development. The company has employed an external growth strategy in order to diversify its products and services and to further globalize the company. The company has redesigned its training and employee professional development philosophy in order to integrate its training systems with the company’s business strategy. Training now emphasizes the integration of technology, goal congruence, team building and diversity training, and assessment (saralee.com).

Grupo Bimbo is a Mexican company that is one of largest baking companies in the world. Bimbo’s mission is to “produce and market food; develop the value of our brands.” The company’s values are to be highly productive, competitive, strongly oriented toward customer satisfaction and to continue to be an international leader in the bakery industry (Annual Report, 2010). Grupo Bimbo clearly differs from Saralee in several important areas. Bimbo’s focus is on a single industry, the bakery industry. In its annual reports and other corporate publications, Grupo Bimbo emphasizes cost reduction, investments in technology and environmental social responsibility. Strategic training does not appear to be an important part of the corporate culture. Perhaps this has something to do with the company being headquartered in Mexico. It is clear from my review that Grupo Bimbo has a completely different corporate philosophy and strategic business focus than Saralee. The former emphasizes the bottom line and return to shareholders while the latter emphasizes innovation, diversity and investment in both people and products.

One company in the global food and beverage industry that serves as a leader in strategic training and development is Pepsico. This company, with operations in 200 countries and annual revenue in excess of $60 billion, has adopted a business philosophy anchored in the six sigma concepts of quality products, quality people; collaborate teams, employee mentoring and rigorous assessment (Pande, Neuman & Cavanagh, 2000, pp. 19-27). Pepsico invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually in employee training and personal development. The company utilizes proven techniques such as stretch assignments, job rotation and mentor training. The company’s mission statement focuses on two goals; to be the world’s leading consumer products company and to provide opportunities for employee growth and professional development (Annual Report, 2010).

All three of the companies discussed above have different approaches to strategic training and development. The degree of emphasis and investment in people appears to vary depending on the corporate culture, the degree of product and geographic diversification and the commitment to strategic training of the company’s executive and Board of Directors.

Question 2: How does the Business Climate Affect Corporate Training Strategies?

Strategic training represents a considerable investment for companies that seek to remain competitive in a global, knowledge-based economy. In order to make these investments the company needs to generate profits. Today’s global recession makes it difficult for many firms to maintain funding levels for strategic training investments. Two multinational corporations headquartered in the United States serve as excellent examples. Microsoft continues to enjoy great success and the company has employed a two-pronged business strategy of internal growth and external acquisition. Bank of America, on the other hand, is experiencing a very difficult business climate. The firm’s revenues as well as its share price continue to decline and the company ahs been forced to lay off thousands of employees.

There is an obvious correlation between the business strategy adopted by the firm and its ability to invest in strategic training and development (Saks & Halcoun, 2010, p. 18). Microsoft continues to develop new products, particularly in the area of software and it has employed a rather aggressive strategy of acquiring newer technology companies around the globe. From a training and development perspective, Microsoft must invest significant resources in training its personnel to adapt to integrated business and accounting systems. In addition, considerable effort will be needed to transform a multiple corporate culture environment into a single culture model. Cultural and diversity training are also critical as the company expands and acquires new companies in various locations around the globe.

Bank of America has clearly adopted a disinvestment business strategy to deal with the unfortunate realities of the banking and finance industry. Downsizing and layoffs affect employee morale. The company’s main focus is on cost reduction and therefore many investments in training are likely to be deferred. That said, the company must still work at maintaining employee motivation and ensuring that its top staff do not leave for other firms. Cross training of employees is one strategy that is often used during a disinvestment cycle to accomplish multiple tasks with fewer personnel. The company is also likely to be engaged in a significant re-training program to help build the skill levels of its remaining employees.

One of the important lessons to be learned from these two examples is that a company’s ability to understand and respond to change is critical to corporate success. The ability to do this requires investments in strategic training and development.

References

Grupo Bimbo Annual Report 2010. Retrieved from http://www.grupobimbo.com

Pepsico Annual Report 2010. Retrieved from http://www.pepsico.com

Saks, Alan M. & Halcoun, Robert R. (2010). Managing Performance through Training and Development. (5th ed). Toronto: Nelson Education.

Saralee Annual Report 2010. Retrieved from http://www.saralee.com

Pande, Peter S., Neuman, Robert P. & Cavanagh, Roland R. (2000). The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance. New York: McGraw Hill.

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